Government report outlines its support for coastal towns

PUBLISHED: 12:15 04 April 2019

Tourists flock to Sidmouth beach. Picture: Alex Walton

Tourists flock to Sidmouth beach. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

Improving broadband, education, housing and transport are among the top investments needed to be made to support the future of seaside towns according to a new government report.

The House of Lords select committee on regenerating seaside towns published a 153-page document looking at the sustainability throughout the country on Thursday.

The committee called on investment from central government to focus on supporting sustainable, long-term regeneration and not short term initiatives.

Seaton and Exmouth were among the East Devon towns recognised in the report due to East Devon District Council’s work to set up regeneration boards.

The report said the district council was pursuing ‘ambitious regenerations strategy’ to invest in Seaton Jurassic, Seaton Wetlands visitor centre and the rebuilding of Mamhead Slipway.

The report said: “This has been the result of the establishment of and support of regeneration boards providing clear vision, leadership and support to regeneration.”

The document also called for seaside locations to regain their ‘pioneering spirit’ and potentially diversify their local economies.

Lord Bassam of Brighton, chairman of the committee, said: “For too long, seaside towns have been neglected. They suffer from issues rooted in the decline of their core industries, most notably domestic tourism, but also in fishing, shipbuilding and port activity, and from their location at the ‘end of the line’.”

Better educational and job opportunities for young people in seaside towns were among the recommendations, as the committee felt they were being let down and ‘left behind’.

Lord Bassam said: “The potential impact of Brexit on these towns, particularly the hospitality sector, also remains an open question. A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist. What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband.

“The committee is confident that if our recommendations are pursued seaside towns can once again become prosperous and desirable places to live in and visit.”

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